What Direction Now? Life at the intersection…

ThreeOdysseyTwentySeven – NaBloPoMo9 – Manifest


The first few members of group 39 said goodbye to Ukraine yesterday; my first site mate will leave some time next week. All of us will soon follow in this strange Manifest Destiny that only takes us back to where we began, but promises that even this place will not be anything that we’ve ever seen before. These are the trailblazers; I am the one who will turn out the light and shut the door.

Four more weeks…

To Do Today
– Laundry
– Find/create a place to hang laundry to dry
Write something
– Write DOS (something else)
– Pending prior completion: wide open evening

Bear with me here, the first-person present makes me sort of self-conscious…


I carry a box and a bag, both stressed, stretched to the breaking point. One is full of Ukrainian groceries, or at the very least groceries bought in Ukraine—pasta, sugar, juice, laundry powder, sunflower oil, cookies—and the other is full of America.

They only had small bags at the cashier stand I went to. Do not ask whether there were bigger bags in the stands right behind or in front of us, and if so, why she couldn’t just call over for some of those other bags when she could see that I had some bigger purchases down at the end of the grocery chute; do not ask because I didn’t ask, I know better without even thinking about it, and I just took the small bag and carefully packed my groceries in together all snug.

I look down at the bag and the only word I can think of to describe it is “strain”; it is straining to hold it all in, even as box corners shape its surface at random odd angles, and bag ends jab and tear.

It has made the trip in and out of the post office, at least, where I picked up a box from my father. The box was tied up in a light blue mail bag; I don’t know for sure but the bag always seems to signify that something has gone wrong with the package—it is leaking or broken, or in one case, completely (though lovingly) dowsed in perfume. The post lady actually said “Oooph” when she picked up the bag—it wasn’t an involuntary sound. It is also not a sound that I really want to hear in relation to any package with my name on it. She dragged the post bag across the floor and cut the tie off; then she heaved it up on the counter and unceremoniously upended it, shaking it so that the box tumbled end over end onto the counter in front of me.

I look down at the box. It has a huge wet spot covering over half of the bottom and climbing up one side. The spot looks a bit greasy, but even having had experience with all sort of boxes in my FedEx days, I can’t tell if it is actually something greasy leaking from the inside, or if it was dipped somehow in a greasy substance at some point in transit, or if it’s simply wet with water and this is just the sort of box that looks greasy when it gets wet. The entire outside of the box is wrapped in clear packing tape and a wrinkled and abused blue and yellow “Ukrposhta” inspection sticker is theoretically holding the box “closed” from the top (or actually the bottom, but with the wet spot and the general openness, the bottom is the new top).

I realize that I could shift some things to make the burden easier, but I have no free hands right now. I know for a fact that if nothing changes, if we keep going exactly as we are now, an inevitable breaking point looms ahead of us, that at some point relatively soon either or both of these transportation mediums will lose it, give up the ghost, vomit their contents in view of all. Walking down the sidewalkdrivewayparkinglot still ten minutes from the dorm, I hope I will arrive before their particular countdown clocks hit 00:00. That is, I can only hope that we can keep it all together long enough for me to get home.
I am the Eggman…Coo coo ca choo…

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What Direction Now? Life at the intersection…

About Andrew.

Andrew Cartwright grew up in Indianapolis, IN, but has lived over the years in such places as Denver, CO; Fairfax, VA; and Rivne, Ukraine. He is a former nonfiction editor for both Indiana Review and phoebe; he has also worked for the intersectional feminist journal, So To Speak, and the national literary magazine, Electric Literature. His work has appeared in The Normal School Online, Copper Nickel, Esquire Ukraine, Literary Hub, and Word Riot.

For more information about me and links to other writing, visit my author page at cartwriter.com





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